Accident Victim Sues Rolls-Royce, Others

 - January 8, 2007, 4:16 AM

On December 6, attorney Richard Genter filed a lawsuit on behalf of client Charles Duke in U.S. District Court in Indiana. The complaint seeks a jury trial to determine punitive damages from defendants Rolls-Royce (and its previous Allison/General Motors incarnations), Standard Aero and Southeast Helicopters. Duke was flying an aerial tree-trimming mission on Dec. 9, 2004, when his McDonnell Douglas 369D crashed following failure of the helicopter’s Allison/Rolls-Royce 250 engine. Duke is a paraplegic due to injuries suffered in the accident. Probable cause of the accident, according to the NTSB, was “The loss of engine power as a result of fatigue cracking of the compressor adaptor coupling…and subsequent disconnection of the compressor from the turbine assembly.” Duke’s lawsuit alleges that Rolls-Royce/Allison should have known that the coupling’s design was defective. Standard Aero is involved because it overhauled and leased the engine to Duke’s employer, Aerial Solutions. Southeast Helicopters installed the engine.